Date of Conferral







Wayne Bonham


Obesity is a pandemic that has a substantial impact among African American women. Biological, social, and cultural acceptance of obesity, collectively referred to as biosociocultural factors, represents an obstacle to efforts to address this health risk among this group. The purpose of this study was to develop a better understanding of the relationship between biosociocultural factors and motivation to lose weight. Self-determination theory, objectification theory, and social learning theory formed the study's theoretical framework. The key research question concerned the extent to which the investigated constructs (BMI, internalized body image, and social networks) helped to explain motivation for weight loss among nonpregnant obese African American heterosexual or bisexual women who preferred to date and mate with African American men. The study used a quantitative and correlational cross-sectional survey design. Data were collected from a sample of 183 African American women with obesity. Survey components included a demographic questionnaire, Pulvers's Culturally Relevant Body Image Scale and Questionnaire, the Social Support for Eating Habits Survey, and the Dieting Readiness Test. Multiple regression analyses were used to examine the predictive strength of these factors (BMI, 3 components of internalized body image, and 4 components of social network) for motivation to lose weight. A statistically significant positive relationship was found between motivation to lose weight and 3 predictors (2 components of body image and 1 component of social network). Further examination indicated that body image was the most reliable construct predicting motivation to lose weight. Insights gained from this study may inform the development of culturally sensitive approaches to obesity prevention and intervention for this population.